When I was a child, I came home from school and went straight to my room and did my homework. It just made sense to get it out of the way so I could watch Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers uninterrupted.
As I got older, the Internet took precedence over algebraic equations. There was just so many other interesting things to do and the fact that I hated math didn’t help my procrastination. When I was in a chat room or downloading music on Napster, I always told myself those word problems were waiting. It was like getting your teeth cleaned or taxes done, an activity you know is necessary but one you put off for as long as possible. It always stayed in the back of my mind and I always felt guilty for not getting it done right away but that didn’t stop me from waiting until the last minute.
When I graduated from college, I felt free from the burden of homework. I could get a job, put in my 8 hours and then go home and be lazy without the worry of another deadline weighing me down.
But that was before I decided to write a book.
Although I’m no longer in school, I still have homework. But instead of school homework, now it’s life homework. I come home from work and tell myself I need to get started on my book but I have dinner and then get lost in Vine for hours at a time and then go to bed. And that lingering dread of knowing I need to write never leaves me and the guilt sinks in again because I don’t do it.
I don’t know what it’s like to relax. I know what it’s like to be lazy but I haven’t been able to come home and feel good about doing nothing.
But I do have some good news to report. Over the past month and a half, I’ve been hard at work on my book. I’m one third of the way through the third draft. The last time I worked on it, I had edited the second draft. I thought all I would need to do was fix some things and cut out all the extra bits I felt were no longer necessary. But since it had been so long since I’d worked on the book, as I went through and made the corrections I dictated during the edit of the second draft, I found myself rewriting the entire thing. Again.
I think it just speaks to my growth as a writer. It’s not that I feel I’m getting better with age but I’m just learning to recognize the bad in my writing. I’ve really gotten into the nitty gritty with the work and cut out and I’m even rearranging chapters and piecing it all together like a puzzle.
It’s difficult to convert a blog into a book. I have all this reference material from when I wrote in my old blog while I was in college but as I wrote the book, I realized I left a lot of stuff out. I also repeated myself in several blog entries and I mostly did that as a courtesy to new readers who might have come along and found me. I tried to summarize my experience before moving into new territory just to keep everyone caught up. That works for a blog but for a book, it’s just repetitive. When you read a blog, you can come along at any point and you have to do some background reading to get yourself caught up. But with a book, you’re starting at the beginning like everyone else and there’s no need to get caught up because I’m going to lay it out for you as you read along.
Because of the continuous summation in my blog entries, I’ve been able to eliminate a lot of that repetition in the book, which has actually helped me reduce the page number. The last time I checked, the book was 589 pages, which is way too huge and no one is going to pay attention for that long and I knew I needed to condense. I’ve already been able to wipe out about 20 pages from the first section of the book and hope to be able to wipe out more as I go into the second and third section.
When I started the book, the idea was to write about a year in my life. That included my time at college and away from college. But to further condense the book, I decided to keep the focus on just college. One of the struggles in writing this thing has been I’ve had no clear focus or goal. You’re setting yourself up for failure when you are 2 drafts into a book and you still don’t know what you want to say. But hey, this is my first book and I’m learning as I go along.
One of the reasons I haven’t been writing here as much lately is because I’ve been working on my life homework, legitimately trying to get this book completed. It has taken way too long to complete and it’s mostly been from procrastination. In the past, I wrote with a dream of getting the book published. But I lacked the determination to actually do it. But I am determined to continue writing until the book is done.
I can’t say when it’ll be finished ’cause I will have to make at least one more pass through the book after I finish this third draft and then I’ll have to get it professionally edited. Of course, that’ll take money which I don’t have so I’ll have to figure all that out when I get to it. But I feel good about it. It’s coming along nicely and I also feel good about actually finishing it. No more breaks for me. It’s gonna happen. It’ll be slow going but as long as I take the time to do a bit each day, I’ll feel good about my progress.